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Are Indiana students ready for the future? Here’s how the state will track their performance

A girl in a blue cap and gown stands in a row of students wearing blue, gold and green graduation gowns and claps.

Indiana’s new Graduates Prepared to Succeed dashboard will track students’ progress through K-12 schools using data about literacy and math from state tests, among other metrics.

Carson TerBush / Chalkbeat

Indiana is rolling out a new dashboard to track student and school performance data that emphasizes how well schools are preparing students for the future. 

The Graduates Prepared to Succeed dashboard compiles data on testing and attendance, along with other statistics like employment and enrollment in college, into a snapshot of each district and school.

It’s the result of a 2021 law that tasked the Indiana Department of Education with creating a new system to view certain information like graduation rates and progress toward college. The department also wants to use it to track student skills that it has deemed essential, such as digital literacy and communication and collaboration, although these features won’t be available until a future update. 

The dashboard could replace Indiana’s current measure of school performance, the A-F grading system, which has been in limbo since 2018 due to changes in state testing and COVID. 

Though the A-F system remains a part of state law, Secretary of Education Katie Jenner said she expects legislators to discuss that system and the new dashboard during the next legislative session, which begins in January. 

If the grades remain part of the statute, they will be incorporated into the dashboard, Jenner said.

Lawmakers have also indicated that they’d like to replace the annual school performance report with the dashboard. 

She said the goal of the dashboard is to track and improve postsecondary outcomes for students, with an emphasis on “employment, enrollment, or enlistment.” 

“It’s putting everything in one place in a transparent way,” Jenner said. 

Dashboard highlights literacy, growth in math

Schools are currently reviewing the dashboard, with a public launch date yet to be determined, according to Jenner. The State Board of Education will also discuss the dashboard at a Wednesday meeting. 

At a demonstration for reporters Tuesday, Jenner emphasized that the dashboard is in its first iteration, and uses data that’s available from sources like the education department and the Commission on Higher Education. 

A screenshot of the new Indiana Graduates Prepared to Succeed dashboard showing data for Batesville schools.

A screenshot of the new Indiana Graduates Prepared to Succeed dashboard showing data for Batesville schools.

Aleksandra Appleton/Chalkbeat

Some of the metrics included on a school’s overview page include third grade literacy, as measured by the IREAD-3 exam, and sixth grade math growth, as determined by the ILEARN test. 

The dashboard tracks how many students complete advanced coursework prior to ninth grade, as well as the number who fill out a federal financial aid application and enroll in the 21st Century Scholars program, which offers free tuition to eligible students. It also offers a look at employment numbers and median income.

Though tracking the number of students that enlist in the military is a priority for the department, the department is waiting for that data from the federal government, Jenner said. 

Data like military enlistment will be forthcoming in future updates, she said. 

And some measurements — like a way to gauge students’ skills in communication or digital literacy — still need to be developed, said Jason Callahan, assistant secretary of student pathways and opportunities.

The department will update the dashboard in January and again in the spring, Jenner said. 

Aleksandra Appleton covers Indiana education policy and writes about K-12 schools across the state. Contact her at aappleton@chalkbeat.org.

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